Five Years After the Tree of Life Attack: A Message from Your Federation CEO

October 27, 2023

By Nancy B. Greer
President & CEO

On Shabbat morning October 7, we awoke to the shocking news that terrorists had invaded Israel and perpetrated atrocities against innocent people going about their lives.

Like you, the news shook me to the core … and brought up the searing memories of another Shabbat morning five years ago: October 27, 2018, the day of the deadly attack on innocent people at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh.

Then as now, we mourned for those whose lives were stolen from them.

Then as now, we gathered to share our grief at a community vigil and hold those suffering close to our hearts.

Then as now, we came together, resolved to fight harder against the ancient hatred of antisemitism that, yet again, had inflicted violence and terror on our people.

The Tree of Life tragedy reminded us that the dangers arising from antisemitism are never far away, no matter where we live.

Five years later, that disturbing reality has been growing and now has hit disturbing new levels. On Wednesday, the Anti-Defamation League released a deeply troubling report that antisemitic incidents in the U.S. have surged nearly 400 percent since October 7. From harassment to assaults, from antisemitic banners draped over a highway overpass to anti-Israel rallies glorifying violence against Jews, there has been an outbreak of hateful incidents from coast to coast, including here in Washington State.

Fighting antisemitism has long been a core part of your Federation’s work to ensure Jewish continuity, and by necessity it’s a multi-pronged effort.

Federation’s Jewish Community Relations Council (JCRC) brings our community together to speak and act with one voice to counter the threat through advocacy, education, and building alliances.

Our SAFE Washington community security program is busier than ever providing resources to help keep Jewish life secure. You can help! If you witness any antisemitic activity, please report it as soon as possible, using the SAFE Washington and ADL reporting forms. By reporting antisemitic incidents, we can provide critical information that our law enforcement partners and elected leaders must have to protect our community.

It will take all of us, working together, to counter and defeat antisemitism. We owe it to ourselves and to our community. And we owe it to the memory of brothers and sisters we lost at the Tree of Life in 2018 and in Israel in 2023.

Am Yisrael Chai.